[racket] Math Guidance

From: Neil Van Dyke (neil at neilvandyke.org)
Date: Wed Nov 3 22:10:11 EDT 2010

Luke, what Noel, Karl, and Patrick said.

Few more comments:

* The ideal is to learn lots of basic math early in life, since 
internalizing it does take a lot of thought, practice, and time, and 
math increases what you can do and the sophistication of your thinking 
in general.  But you can still teach yourself math later, with 
textbooks, Internet video lectures, and adult continuing education 
classes.  And lots of exercises.  If schools took advantage of young 
kids' brains to really teach math before age 12, while the kids are 
sponges for learning, those kids would be our new overlords, and no one 
could stand against them.  But schools almost invariably botch the 
opportunity (at least in the US), so a motivated adult can catch up.

* You don't *need* math for most software development work -- most 
people don't have it.  Or, the math that you do need, you pick up as you 
do programming, without knowing it's math.

* Working through HtDP is a good step in learning software development 
as an adult.  Be aware that, if you want to be employable at the moment, 
you will also want to pick up a currently more popular programming 
language, like Python or Java.  However, the popular languages to learn 
for immediate employability change over time.  HtDP will help you to 
pick up Python and be a better Python programmer than many people 
without the foundation, and HtDP also help you to pick up the *next* 
popular language quickly.  Perhaps it's like the advantage of getting 
lots of introductory math.


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